The Office for Children Keeps the Lights On Afterschool
On Thursday, October 18, children enrolled in the Fairfax County Office for Children's School Age Child Care program will join millions of other children, parents and community leaders across the U.S. in celebration of Lights On Afterschool.
Lights On Afterschool is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring all children have access to quality afterschool programs. The Office for Children, a division of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, commissioned a study that revealed that 41 percent of 11 and 12-year-olds in Fairfax County are in self-care on a regular basis. This is far above the national average of 19 percent. In addition, about 3,500 Fairfax County children who are 8, 9 or 10 years old are often left to take care of themselves.
The county's child supervision guidelines recommend that 8 - 10 year-olds not be left alone for more than 1.5 hours, and only during daylight and early evening hours. The Office for Children's SACC program, which is held in county elementary schools, cares for 5 - 12-year-olds before school, after school, and during school holidays.
With more than 10,000 children enrolled in SACC centers, the SACC program continues to inspire learning, keep children safe, and support working families. At 5 p.m. on October 18, all SACC centers will participate in a county-wide flashlight event to call attention to the importance of afterschool programs for children, families, and communities.